Slopes ain’t just for skiers you know. We’ve rounded up the best snowboard resorts in France for your perusal. Half of the WeSki team are snowboarders, so it’s been quite the contest, but here are our favourites to date.
Sure, Val d’Isère is a celebrity fave, but it’s also a backcountry haven for seasoned boarders. It comes in as our top snowboard resort in France (although we were hard-pressed to choose one).
Long Vertical Drops Off-piste in Val d’Isère
In terms of route options, where do we begin? The Couloir de la Table d’Orientation is a fave amongst locals. Take the Bellevarde lifts, endure a cheeky 25 minute hike and you’ll reach your start point. Take off down the couloir run before arriving onto Le Kern’s slopes. You’ll then enjoy a vertical drop of 1000m, offering up some really fun and challenging terrain.
For a softer start, the Tour du Charvet is a great ride with 900m of vertical drop through the Vanoise National Park. Les Marmottons are for experienced off-pisters. Offering 800m of vertical drop, you’ll be able to enjoy a nice steep descent with a killer view. Envers de Cugnai kicks off from Solaise (like Les Marmattons) and is pretty famous for its freeride. Over 1000m vertical drop, there’s a varied terrain and multiple lines to try.
Col des Barmes de l’Ours is totally worth the climb. At 500m long, it’ll take about 2 hours to get to your starting point. The drop looks a bit wild if you’re checking it out from Bellevarde, but actually the whole thing isn’t too out there, and is great fun. The 900m descent regularly hits the mark for backcountry lovers.
More Backcountry Routes to Try in Val d’Isère
The Chardonnet couloirs and bowl draws in fresh powder like nowhere else. It actually has its own micro-climate, keeping the powder perfectly light, especially just after a fresh snowfall. Although the drop is shorter than others (400m), you’ll be able to link some nice turns whilst up to your waist in pow.
There are plenty more runs to try out, including Le Couloir de Pisteurs, which is a descent only for the absolutely insane. Le Col Pers is a winner for great views and ideal for off piste skiers who are just starting out with their backcountry addiction. Then there’s La Pointe Pers which should be your first port of call after a good fresh dumping. Le Grand Vallon, Le Fornet tree run, and Les Danaïdes are also worth checking out if you’ve covered all the above.
A snowboarders paradise for boarders of literally all ages, Avoriaz is a fab choice for your next snowboarding trip! The resort is filled with adorable little kiddies zooming about on their teeny-tiny boards. Mint Snowboarding offers lessons from as young as three, and the kids are so cute you can’t even be mad at them for having better skills than you. Check out this adorable footage:
If you’ve got a little sprog yourself that you want to introduce to the sport, this is the place to head.
Kiddies can hit up their own snow park, the Lil’ Stash (stop it Avoriaz, you’re killing us with cuteness). Aside from this Burton-backed kids park there are plenty of greens for them to find their feet.
Older kids, teens, and adults needn’t feel left out, though. Whether its lessons with Mint Boarding, New Generation, or Avoriaz Snowboard School, or just some time on the slopes that you need, you’ll find a ton of places to shred in Avoriaz.
We particularly love the Burton park, the Stash, which is an eco-friendly park. The park is designed to bring snowboarders closer to mother nature. It aims to encourage a positive dialogue on how to protect the environment and all the features are made out of natural wood. The park runs about 1.3km of freestyle through the trees. Lush.
From powder fields that stretch for miles to long cruisy pistes and a fab selection of ungroomed backcountry trails, there’s something for everyone. Experienced boarders can head up to Arare Park for some fun. Intermediates looking to sharpen their skills and build a smidge more confidence should aim for Chapelle Park. Either location will offer rip-roaring terrain and an excellent ride.
Offering a naturally diverse terrain and with a snow park suitable for all skill levels, Serre Chevalier is a great snowboarding holiday destination. 2014 Olympic Boardercross champion Pierre Vaultier started snowboarding in these parts when he was just six, so there’s definitely magic in these slopes.
Enjoy cutting through the pines and working your way through the natural bumps and lips of the terrain. You’ll also find banks, gullies, drop-offs and plenty of adrenaline pumping forest rides. The freeride is pretty easy-access and there are some cracking black runs such as the Casse de Boeuf that will have you sailing down through the trees.
Lose yourself amongst the foliage on the runs on the North-East facing slopes. If Chantemerle and Villeneuve feel a bit to crowded, try Le Monetier.
Intermediates needn’t miss out on the forest magic and everyone down to the freshest-faced newbie can have a crack at the snow park. Brush up on your skills with lessons available from New Generation, ESI Generation, and ESF.
A favourite, Tignes doesn’t fail to serve up a treat when it comes to snowboarding. Home to the European X-Games, the Swatch snow park, the largest in the world, is ideal for intermediate skill levels and upwards. You can cover up to 2.5km of distance, plus almost 500m of vertical drop.
Enjoy open powder expanses and the Tignes-standard of cruisy bluebird pistes. Freeriding is totally possible; the area just off the right-hand side of the Merles chair is a known favourite.
Experts can hit up La Sashe, and anyone can enjoy the line down from Grande Motte into Val Claret. From the corduroy snow to the acres of blue sky above, you’ll be mesmerised all the way down.
Another resort offering great snowboarding holiday potential is Courchevel. A little different from its French neighbours, Courchevel has very few surface lifts, so you’ll need to scoot around with a little gusto. That being said, the terrain is fab and with good conditions you can enjoy some of the best lines Europe has to offer.
There is also a, somewhat small, snow park, however don’t let the size put you off. Not wanting to miss out on any of the fun, Courchevel has packed its Family Park with rails, kickers, wall rides, and a boardercross.
Creux or Park City are great places to head for some adrenaline pumping runs, and you can enjoy great freeride too. Powder hounds will love the Creux Noir bowl; hire a guide to make the most out of it though.
A great spot for seasoned snowboarders is Les Arcs. Check out the Rodeo Park, which offers incredible opportunities for freestyle practice, including an airbag. Those with less experience can stick to the piste and won’t be disappointed; there are plenty of cruisey blues to try out. If you fancy something a bit more exciting, have a go on some of the cut through routes on the blues above 1800m. The tree lined paths are as adorable as they are fun.
From the Aiguille Grive peak take your pick from a series of couloirs that plonk you straight into some deliciously soft powder bowls. Another run that is an absolute must is the Aiguille de Rouge. With its incredible 2026m vertical, you’re guaranteed an incredible ride.
This resort offers ideal terrain for all levels. Beginners or baby-shredders can enjoy some great beginner areas, and beautiful blues to try out too. Newbie freestylers can enjoy the park above the main beginner area, where ski schools run their lessons. Don’t be afraid to throw yourself into your snowboarding as there will be plenty of other people stacking it alongside you.
More experienced boarders can hit the Montfrais snow park. You can get to it via the Myrtilles blue piste, but it really is one only designed for those with a lot of confidence and some solid skills. The kickers and rails are all a little larger and slightly more challenging.
If you’re more interested in a long run there’s a 13km black/red that starts from Pic Blanc. You can also kick off a descent down some nice couloirs from Pic Blanc, eventually delivering you on to the Sarenne trail.
Les Deux Alpes
La Grave is the jewel in these parts, when, on a good day, you can choose from a zillion different lines with chuts, crevices, gullies, and drops. The descent is around 2200m, with some insanely beautiful glacial scenery. Guides are a must-have, as most of the lines will send you over cliffs, and you’ll need to hike part-way back once you’re done.
Dive into the oversized snow park, with 20m big air kickers and full-sized superpipes, amongst other features.
Beginners can head to ‘the Dome’, whilst more seasoned riders will enjoy the Clot de Chalance, and various fun, deep, and steep routes from the La Fee chairlift.
A world-famous destination for the savvy free-rider, Chamonix’s backcountry routes are cracking. Not for the beginner boarder and a bit of a rough ride when there isn’t that much snow, Chamonix can be an absolute diamond on a good day. Zoom down Les Grands Montets’ steep runs for some heart-stopping rides. Mont Blanc framing your descent adds to the sheer madness of your trip to Cham.
Good old Méribel offers up not just its own great terrain, but also acts as a door to other great resorts like Valtho and Courchevel. Head up the Olympic chair for a choice of great runs perfect for snowboarders. Area 43 and Moon Park are great parks, or if you’d rather stay completely off-piste, race down the Couloir Tournier for a steep and fun descent.
Visit One of the Best Snowboard Resorts in France This Season
There are plenty of great places to visit for a good snowboarding holiday filled with powder, après, and back-country adventures. If you’re looking for something more glacial, check out our top picks for glacier skiing and snowboarding.
WeSki is a travel company that lets you create your snowboarding trip all in one place. Everyone in your group can easily customise their own part of the trip, and you can sort flights, accommodation, gear rental, luggage, transfers, plus more, instantly online. Bookings for the 2019/2020 season are now open.